A Cebuano hotelier returns home  

Published July 17, 2022, 1:53 PM

by Deedee Siytangco

An imposing 23-story structure nestled between the bustling cities of Mandaue and Cebu is an eye-catcher and a tourist attraction. With 668 guest rooms, eight dining options, and 12 function rooms, Bai Hotel Cebu is now a stellar attraction in the Queen City of the South. The hotel’s culinary offerings, service, and amenities are top notch and guests easily feel at home in Bai, which is named after a Cebuano term of endearment, meaning “brother” or “partner” or “good friend” or “pal.”          

Alfred Reyes, GM Bai Cebu Hotel

Leading the team of Bai Hotel Cebu is vice president for operations and general manager Alfred Reyes. He is a veteran hotelier who has returned home after spending years in the hospitality industry in Manila and around the Asia Pacific. Cebuano by origin, Reyes declares that Bai Hotel Cebu is right on target as the development of another business gateway in the province of Cebu is unfolding, right in the area where Bai Hotel Cebu is closely located. And with the opening of the latest terminal of Mactan International Airport channeling more domestic and international flights to and from Cebu, the timing could not have been any better.

A graduate of Hospitality Management from the University of San Jose Recoletos and a recipient of the Certificate in General Manager’s Program from the world-renowned Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Reyes has worked his way up from the ranks since he first joined Cebu Plaza Hotel in 1988.    

With a positive outlook and tenacity in his field of expertise in sales and marketing as well as operations, he moved out of Cebu to be part of the bigger players in the hospitality industry in Manila like Hyatt, The Westin Philippine Plaza, The Bayview Park Hotel, and The Pan Pacific Hotel.

In 1999, he returned to Cebu to join Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino as general manager and later joined properties in the Asia-Pacific region with stints at Grand Formosa Regent Taipei of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and the 1,180-guest room Jakarta Hilton.

But home beckoned and Reyes was more than happy to return to the Philippines in 2003 as general manager for The Linden Suites Manila under Swiss-Belhotel International (Hongkong).

It was during his work at The Linden Suites where Reyes received prestigious recognitions like the 2005 Swiss-Belhotel International General Manager of the Year and the Best Branding and Positioning as well as the 2006 Swiss-Belhotel International Highest REVPAR Performance. In 2008, appointed regional director of hotel operations and business development, he started overseeing the entire hotel operations of Swiss-Belhotel International in the Philippines.

He took another kind of challenge when he joined Quantuvus Resources Corporation and became owner representative and chief operating officer. Part of his accomplishments included the completion within 24 months and opening of the 42-story Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center, which gained for Reyes an extensive experience in all aspects of mixed-use property development, including construction, design, sourcing of operating equipment for serviced offices, restaurant and hotel. He liaised with Oakwood management in operations and finance and with the commitment and dedication that he put into all his work, Joy~Nostalg Center became one of the leading business addresses in the country with 92 percent occupancy in 2010 and 100 percent occupancy in 2011.

In 2013, Reyes joined Widus Hotel and Casino at Clark Freeport Zone as general manager. He took charge of the construction of Widus’ second Tower, the renovation of the 1st Tower as well as the Casino expansion. During this stint, Widus received the highest market share inside Clark and topped Tripadvisor rankings.

Reyes decided to return to his roots in 2016 to join Bai Hotel Cebu to oversee the construction and head the pre-opening.  At Bai Hotel, he aims to complete a traveler’s wish list of expectations with a fuss-free five-star service.

Reyes shares that Bai Hotel Cebu is a 100 percent Filipino hotel that caters to business and leisure travelers who value exceptional customer service and memorable experiences.

Reyes earned a Mabuhay Gold Award in 2019 from the Association of Human Resources Managers in the Hospitality Industry (AHRM). Just recently on April 21, he was awarded as the Hotel General Manager of the Year during the Rotary Club of Manila’s 18th Tourism Awards held at The Heritage Hotel.